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The Flying Monkey Newsletter

PACT: Professional Association of Canadian Theatres

During last fall’s Making a Scene conference, a session was held on Women in Theatre. The discussion exploded and there wasn’t time enough for everyone’s voice to be heard, so here’s another chance to weigh-in. As columnist Kate Taylor noted, “Canadian theatre…simply cannot afford to ignore half of the available talent.”

Last year’s Flying Monkey was the first time this newsmagazine went online, this time discussing mentorship in the arts. However, lost in the shuffle, it was not seen by many and some great insights went unnoticed. Over the next few days I will print the interviews that took place with a variety of talented theatre artists and hear what they had to say on the question of what the place is for mentorship in the arts…

INTERVIEW WITH PATRICK PENNEFATHER

FM: What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?

Kim Selody

As promised, issue #2 in our series on mentorship. This time:

INTERVIEW WITH KIM SELODY

FM:What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
KS: The Canada Council is not mandated to support the training of Artists. [Personally] I mentored under Larry Lillo, as his Assistant while directing The Miser.

FM:What are the direct benefits of mentoring that you feel cannot be developed via other means?
KS: For me, the greatest opportunity mentoring offers is the change to watch someone else make the mistakes.

INTERVIEW WITH JAMES LONG
FM:What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
James Long: We’re constantly collaborating with people outside of our discipline so I would consider those people a mentor… they are bringing in skills we’ve never experienced before: Sarah Chase, Veda Hille. I steal from just about everybody I can.

FM:Are there limitations to mentorship?
JL: So much of [theatre] is instinctual that I think in a mentoring relationship you have to remember your own instincts.

INTERVIEW WITH TAMMY ISAACSON:

FM:What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
TI: Prime [at Pi] (mentorship program) came out of looking at the community and what we perceived at the time to be a huge hole in the ecology: how do people actually get their work recognized? This year we will be creating what we’re calling Prime Placements, so we will pair up…for example a set designer with a practical, working assistant.

FM:Are there limitations to mentorship?
TI: The danger might be in people getting taken advantage of.

INTERVIEW WITH CONRAD ALEXANDROWICZ:
FM: What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
CA: My first directing teacher would essentially direct the show through you until he trusted that you were able to make some successful decisions. My actual mentorships (the Shaw Festival director’s mentorship as well as self-initiated mentorship) were so hands-off. I watched

INTERVIEW WITH BERNADETTE SWEENY
FM:What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
BS: I was an engineer. I only started in theatre at St Martins’ Youth Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia, and learned everything I knew about theatre through mentorship.

FM: What are the direct benefits of mentoring that you feel cannot be developed via other means?
BS: I have only ever applied for one theatre job in six years, all my work comes through networking. In fact I can trace nearly all of my work back to my very first mentorship at St Martins.

A few years ago, in the middle of summer, it happened that three shows I had worked on were up and running at the same time. My mum came all the way from small town Saskatchewan to see all three – a delicate two-hander on the stage at the Waterfront, Shakespeare under the tents in Vanier park, and a fairytale suspended under the Burrard Street Bridge. I will never forget the look on her face when after seeing the last one she turned to me, shook her head, and said, “I wonder what a day at the office looks like for you?”

Well Mum, here’s your chance to find out…

This post originally appeared on The Next Stage, September 24, 2008.

Ruby Slippers Theatre illuminates social hypocrisy and sexual stereotypes through humour and theatrical innovation. Smart social satire is our forte, and we are leaders of this genre in our community.

INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER REDFERN:
FM:What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
HR: It is only in the past 25 years we have had educational institutions teaching arts management; many of the current managers – including myself – have not had formal training in the field. We have been self taught or mentored and are now passing that on. Even with formal schooling, mentorship is essential.

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Mission Statement

Multi-award winning Ruby Slippers Theatre produces provocative text-based theatre from the vanguard of the English and French Canadian canon. We are the only company in Vancouver mandated to producing the contemporary Quebecois canon in English, and have been doing so since 1990. Our work illuminates diverse perspectives and social issues, inspiring independent critical thought, communion, and diversity.

 

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